Naḫšabī, Żīyāʾ al-Dīn 751/1350) d. 751/1350

Very little is known of the life of the great Persian author Šayḫ Żīyāʾ al-Dīn Naḫšābī. Naḫšābī settled in Badāʾun in North India, where he was to die after a long life of seclusion in 751/1350, and became a murīd (disciple) of Šayḫ Farīd, a descendant of the celebrated Šayḫ Ḥamīd al-Dīn Nāgūrī. With an excellent ability in Indian languages, Naḫšābī translated Indian works into Persian, the most famous among them the Ṭūtī-nāma (Book of the Parrot) based on the Sanskrit Cukasaptatī.

According to the preface of his book, Naḫšābī was asked by a patron to create a new Persian version of the text as the existing version was written in too simple a language. Naḫšābī’s translation reinvigorated the text according to his own standards by replacing some of the stories with what he deemed to be more interesting ones. He also replaced what he considered to be artless prose with a more ornate rendition. However, his Persian version was apparently too difficult for later generations and thus Abū al-Fażl (see author 7) was asked to create a simpler version at the request of the Mughal Emperor Akbar. This version was in turn replaced by the version of Muḥammad Qādirī (11th/17th century). A number of translations of the Ṭūtī-nāma, many based on Qādirī’s version, have appeared in a variety of languages and testify to its immense popularity and appeal. In addition to the Ṭūtī-nāma, Naḫšābī’s other works include a Sufi treatise and a book on the merits of the parts of the body, divided into forty sections each dealing with a single body part, with a ğazal (need definition here) in praise of each.


Ṭūṭī-nāmah     The Book of Parrot

Completed 730/1330, revised by Qādirī, Muḥammad Ḫudāvand.

Based on the Sanskrit Cukasaptatī, Naḫšābī’s Ṭūṭī-nāmah (Book of the Parrot), by far the author’s most famous work, appears in its usual form of a framework with inset stories.